Pro Perspective: Ken Suarez
- Kansas City Athletics, 1966 - 1967; Cleveland Indians, 1968 - 1969, 1971; Texas Rangers, 1972 - 1973
I'm sad to report that Mr. Suarez passed away on July 29, 2023. The below post was written in 2018. RIP Mr. Suarez
From FSU to Big League Catcher
Ken Suarez was born in 1943 in Tampa, FL. He attended Jesiut High School in Tampa and played college ball in his home state of Florida, at Florida State University.
Ken went on to play for Team USA in the 1964 summer Olympics, and he was signed after the Olympics by the Kansas City Athletics.
He played in the minor leagues in 1965 and parts of 1966 before making his major league debut for the Athletics on April 14, 1966.
It was a game against the reigning AL champs, the Minnesota Twins, at Minneapolis' Metropolitan Stadium in front of a crowd of 5,274 fans.
He had three at bats and scored a run in the game, though Kansas City eventually fell to the Twins 4 - 2.
Ken he would go on to play for seven seasons in the big leagues. In addition to the Kansas City Athletics, Ken spent time with the Cleveland Indians and the Texas Rangers.
Ken Suarez was a solid defensive catcher who maintained a 45% caught stealing percentage (much higher than the league average over that span), and he threw out 82 runners attempting to steal.
He played in almost 300 MLB games, collecting 150 big league hits, 5 home runs, 60 RBIs and a .227/.330/.297 career slash line.
Q&A with Ken Suarez
Ken Suarez is a former professional ballplayer with nearly 2,000 innings of big league playing time under his belt. He has played with many MLB all stars and hall of famers, and he has been managed by baseball legends like Ted Williams and Al Dark.
I wrote him a letter a while ago hoping to get his perspective on some of my questions. Below you will see the index card he signed for me as well as the answers he gave for my three questions.
Like the others in the Pro Perspective series, I wanted to share these responses with the readers of Catchers Home with the hope that Ken's insight will help catchers interested in improving their game.
Here are his responses to my questions, as you'll see in the picture below.
Question 1: What is your favorite memory from playing in the majors?
Answer: Broke up Jim Palmer's no hitter in 1973. One out top of 9th.
Question 2: What do you think is the most important skill that a catcher should have?
Answer: There's not the most important. [My commentary: I believe his answer means that there are many things that are critical, but not one single thing.]
Question 3: If you could give one piece of advice to a catcher hoping to make it to the next level, what would it be?
Answer: Baseball is a mental game & a long season. You have to play hurt. Something the guys don't do today.
I think that Ken's responses - particularly to the last question - highlight the importance of staying motivated, working hard and persevering despite the ups and downs of the game. Stay focused on the big picture and show up each game ready to give it 100%.
Thanks for Reading
We will continue to share more Pro Perspectives with you. Keep on the lookout for them!
If we can answer any questions, please feel free to contact us. Thanks for stopping by Catchers Home.